Our nursing workforce of over 4900 Aucklanders have again delivered outstanding patient care across multiple settings and touchpoints throughout Counties Manukau Health.
As we end another year dominated by the global pandemic I remain in awe and I am incredibly proud of our nursing team who have served our community so willingly, so diligently and with such compassion.
Counties Manukau Health has had close to 5,000 Covid-19 cases in our community, and Middlemore has had a high number of Emergency Department presentations and admissions, but our nursing whaanau have not wavered in their commitment and dedication to respond to the needs of our community.
From contact tracing, to testing, vaccinations, MIQ, community, mental health and of course providing specialist hospital care for those who have become unwell with COVID-19 related illnesses, our nursing teams have remained committed to their profession, our patients and their whaanau.
Our teams have willingly reinvented work practises to ensure patient pathways are safe, infection transmission is prevented, and public health advice is adhered to in all areas of our work. People needed our nursing skills and we responded.
During COVID-19 we rapidly developed and updated the visiting policy to address the different national lockdown levels. As we shifted to the protection framework, we took the opportunity to work in partnership to develop a Regional Kaitiaki and Visiting Policy. This positions whaanau as kaitiaki (guardians) and central to the recovery of patients within a manaakitanga approach of mutual respect, and is our obligation to ensure safe, quality and patient centred care, with the comfort, dignity and privacy of the inpatient paramount. This was a huge achievement and a significant development for our practice.
The Ngaa Paerewa Health and Disability Services Standard NZS 8134:2021 approved four standards into one in 2021 to reduce duplication and variation across the services. There are 204 criteria of which 36 are new. The Certification Audit for CM Health has been scheduled for the week of 23 May 2022 and the District Health Board (DHB) will be assessed against the 2021 Standard. I will update you in the new year with plans to address these.
As I reflect on this year, we have managed to continue some important programmes despite the COVID-19 interruptions. In May we held our nursing awards and conference. Our teams from many services and divisions shared the impressive work practises that are delivering positive patient outcomes for our community. The conference was inspiring and for me as a leader incredibly humbling. It’s an event we plan to repeat in 2022.
The Nightingale Challenge was launched last year as part of the International Year of the Nurse to develop our emerging nurse leaders. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic was a barrier to progressing as we had hoped in 2020, however this year we did complete a cohort who co-designed their leadership programme. Its inspiring to see them progress to new roles. In 2022 we will seek our next cohort of Nightingale Nurses to provide them with this development opportunity.
We have provided regional leadership to maintain the pipeline of nurses into practice during the COVID-19 pandemic to clinical pre-registration placements. We are especially pleased to have offered 126 nurses new graduate positions across the DHB in the New Year. We have also made significant progress in delivery of the Care Capacity Demand Management programme components having approved the FTE calculations for the ARHOP and Medicine Divisions. This has been a hugely validating process for staff and recruitment has commenced.
A primary focus for our nursing leadership team in 2022 is to grow our nursing workforce and to offer development for those that want it. A career in nursing offers many pathways and next year I’ll share more about the entry programmes and safe nursing practices we have developed at Counties Manukau Health.
Our work can be challenging, is often complex, but the rewards are enormous. For many of our workforce being part of the Counties Manukau whaanau, and working together as one team is motivating and rewarding.
I see daily evidence that being part of the Counties Manukau whaanau is making a difference – the reason we joined our nursing profession.
Meri Kirihimete to everyone. Please stay safe this holiday season.
Kia mau. Keep well.
Dr Jenny Parr
Chief Nurse and Director of Patient and Whaanau Experience